Janet Bairstow continues strong family tradition at Yorkshire CCC

THE SURNAME Bairstow is as synonymous with Yorkshire County Cricket Club as Brontë is with the village of Haworth.

Jonny Bairstow with his mum Janet Bairstow and his man of the match award during a Test match at Headingley in 2016 (Picture: PA)

From David through to Jonny, two wicketkeeper-batsmen of the highest stamp, Bairstow is a byword for Yorkshire cricket and instantly recognisable throughout the world.

There is also Andrew Bairstow, Jonny’s half-brother, who played three first-class matches for Derbyshire in the mid-1990s, and his younger sister, Becky, who works for an events company.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

On top of that, there is the matriarch herself, Janet Bairstow, the doting mother, whose own contribution to Yorkshire cricket has been recognised by her election as the club’s first female vice-president.

The late David Bairstow

“I feel very privileged and honoured that the club has given me this accolade,” Janet told The Yorkshire Post.

“It’s a very nice touch, and to be the first female vice-president is even better.

“The club’s vice-presidents are ambassadors really, and I always felt that working for the club I was an ambassador.

“It continues our proud family association with Yorkshire cricket and it means a great deal.”

Janet Bairstow and Rebecca Bairstow (Picture: SWPix.com)

Janet, whose new position entitles her into the inner sanctum of the Hawke Suite at Headingley, among other privileges, recently retired as the club’s cricket administrator.

She was an essential figure behind the scenes, working closely with director of cricket Martyn Moxon, and a motherly figure to numerous players since joining the staff in the mid-2000s.

“I feel like I’ve been a mother to all the players, and to all the overseas players,” she says.

“When I left recently, Kane Williamson (the New Zealand captain and sometime Yorkshire batsman) sent me a video thanking me for everything, and Jacques Rudolph (the former South Africa and Yorkshire batsman) sent me a nice one over the vice-presidency honour.

England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow in action during the third day of the 2nd Test Match between England and Australia at Lord's Cricket Ground on August 16, 2019 in London, England. (Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“So I feel like I’ve always been a mother hen to some of the international players in particular.

“Whether they’ve wanted it or not has been a different matter!”

Family has always been important to Janet and the Bairstow clan.

She is as proud of Becky as she is of Jonny – “both of them are brilliant people who would do anything for anybody” – and the family’s closeness, united by David’s untimely passing, has always been inspiring.

Although Jonny, 30, has blossomed into one of the greatest cricketers that Yorkshire and England has ever produced, she admits to still feeling nervous when watching him play.

“My stomach still churns when I’m watching him bat,” she says. “I still can’t watch up until he’s got about 30.

“I’m very nervous looking on in the background, but immensely proud of everything he’s done. He’s worked extremely hard to achieve what he’s achieved.”

For now, it is Janet in the spotlight, and rightly so after her own outstanding contribution to Yorkshire cricket.

Her vice-presidency is a fine gesture by the club, fronted by chief executive Mark Arthur, a man she holds in the highest esteem.

Janet is also looking forward to watching plenty of cricket when the action resumes.

“I might go to some of the away games as well,” she says. “I’ve been to the Test grounds to watch Jonathan, but I’ve never been to places like Hove and Canterbury.

“Hopefully, I can be an ambassador for the club in this new role and it’s still a tremendous privilege to be a part of it all.”

-------------------

JANET BAIRSTOW is the first female vice-president in Yorkshire’s history and the 17th person to currently hold that office.

Yorkshire’s other vice-presidents are, in alphabetical order, Brian Bouttell, Ian Chappell, Mike Cowan, Sidney Fielden, David Hall, Robert Hilliam, Stephen Mann, Keith Moss, Bill Mustoe, David Ryder, Robin Smith, Bryan Stott, Ken Taylor, Tony Vann, David Warner and David Welch.

Like Janet, Mike Cowan was named a vice-president at Yorkshire’s recent annual general meeting.

The former Yorkshire pace bowler, 86, played 91 first-class games for the club between 1953 and 1962.